Instream restoration projects help to improve North Coast streams by adding structures that mimic nature. Made primarily of wood and rock, these structures add complexity to the stream channel, provide shelter for both juvenile and adult salmonids, reduce water temperatures, and help to prevent stream bank erosion.
Fish Creek Instream Habitat Enhancement
Fish Creek, tributary to Lawrence Creek, was a heavily entrenched stream, that had no access to the floodplain and little slow water habitat during the winter. We sought to remedy this by adding 21 wood structures along a half mile of stream. After one winter the added wood was already making a difference by racking smaller pieces of wood and capturing gravel that came into the stream. The gravel helped raise the channel up, providing better floodplain access and provided slow water, sheltered habitat for salmonids. ERWIG added additional logs this summer and we expect further stream channel improvements this winter.
Kenny Creek Fish Passage Improvement Project
A culvert on Kenny Creek in Branscomb, CA was deemed by CDFW to be a fish passage issue for salmonids. The culvert was an old railroad tanker car with both its ends cut off. It has a smooth bottom and a significant plunge at its mouth, the plunge and velocity inside the culvert makes it difficult for adult fish to pass at some flows and almost impossible for juvenile fish to navigate upstream. We replaced the culvert with a prefabricated bridge. The bridge was installed before the culvert was removed so that residents could have continuous access to their homes. At the conclusion of the project the road crossing was 100% passable by all life stages of fish and human residents have a strong, durable bridge that will last for a long time. The final report for the project is available at this link.
Hollow Tree Tributary Complex Phase 2
This past summer 96 logs were placed in Huckleberry and Bear Wallow Creeks in the Hollow Tree Creek watershed. Edwards Excavation placed the logs and rootwads and the California Conservation Corps made some final maneuvering of the logs and then anchored them into place. The Hollow Tree Creek watershed is a stronghold for coho salmon, improving conditions in these two tributaries will be a benefit to coho. To see the final report, click this link.
Anderson Creek Phase 2
Anderson Creek is a tributary to Indian Creek in Piercy, CA. The majority of Indian Creek coho salmon spawn in Anderson Creek. ERWIG and Pacific Watershed Associates (PWA) teamed up to place 165 pieces of large woody debris (LWD) over 1.4 miles of Anderson Creek. Most of the wood was made up of whole trees that were removed during a road decommissioning project. This project should result in a tremendous amount of shelter for salmon as well as rapid geomorphic change of the stream channel, leading to more and deeper pools as well as greatly increased habitat complexity. Phase one of this project was completed in 2015, phase two was completed in the summer of 2017 and phase three will be completed in 2018.
In the summer of 2016 ERWIG completed two instream restoration projects on Redwood Creek in Briceland, CA. Redwood Creek, a SF Eel River tributary, is a crucial coho salmon stream. Logs, rootwads and boulders were used to enhance instream conditions to benefit juvenile and adult salmonids. After just one winter new pools are forming at some sites and pools are deepening at others. Deeper, more frequent pools allows juvenile salmon to persist through the dry summer months by making more and cooler water available to the salmon.
Hollow Tree Creek Tributaries
A multi-stream project in the Hollow Tree Creek drainage was completed in 2016. Large Woody Debris (LWD) was added to four tributaries. A medium sized excavator and a "mini" rubber tracked excavator were used to place the LWD. Use of the "mini" excavator allows for a light touch with little to no damage to the stream banks and the riparian corridor. After the excavator work is completed all access routes are restored and brushed over and the California Conservation Corps (CCC) comes in and anchors the LWD in place.